Senior Tourism Statistics: 19 Facts You Should Know (Explained)


Looking for Senior Tourism Statistics or Elderly tourism statistics?

Whenever you look at a travel ad, it is most likely geared to the younger generation, and with good reason. The vast majority of travelers fall into the Generation Z, Millennial, or Generation X categories. Still, the age of senior tourism is dramatically on the rise.

In fact, the aging population is dramatically transforming the tourist market and industry. As Baby Boomers and Generation X are retiring, a larger portion of the aging populations is wanting to travel than ever before.

In this article, we’re going to look at exactly how the aging population has affected the tourism industry and what they look for in travels.

You will be shocked to learn that Baby Boomers are increasingly active in tourism, and aging populations in the future are likely to travel even more than the Baby Boomers.

Quick Senior Tourism Statistics

Below you can find some quick senior tourism statistics:

  • 57% of Baby Boomers list budget as a factor whenever they make booking decisions.
  • 56% of seniors have already planned their tourism destination for the next year.
  • 43% of Baby Boomers expect to travel both internationally and domestically within the next year.
  • 51% of Baby Boomers plan to visit domestic destinations only.
  • 6% of Baby Boomers are only going to visit international destinations over the next year.
  • 57% of seniors travel in order to visit their friends and family.
  • 11% of seniors enjoy quick weekend getaways.
  • 30% of seniors vacation via cruise.
  • 25% of seniors will extend their business trip for pleasure.
  • 66% of seniors make booking decisions based on informative ads.
  • 10% of Baby Boomers plan their vacations based on social media influence.
  • Baby Boomers spend about $1865 on summer vacations.
  • Baby Boomers average around 27 vacation days a year.

Even though tourism is still dominated by the younger generation, senior tourism is growing dramatically. There are quite a few studies that are being conducted about senior tourism specifically. Let’s take a look at what elderly tourism looks like today.


Reasons For Traveling

The reason why one person wants to travel is different from the next. The same is true of age demographics.

👉 About 57% of Baby Boomers travel exclusively to visit family and friends. Generation Z is similar in this respect in that 56% of them travel to visit their family.

This is very interesting given the fact that Millennials almost exclusively travel for other reasons. For example, Millennials travel to locations with historical or cultural significance to relax or to learn about themselves.


One reason why seniors travel for different reasons is likely because they have already experienced much of what they want to experience. Plus, traveling to see your friends and family is a much lower risk than traveling to exotic locations.

Destination Trends

Location / DestinationPercent of Traveling Boomers
International and Domestic43%
Domestic Only51%
International Only6%

Another important statistic to consider is destination trends. About 43% of Baby Boomers want to visit both domestic and international locations.

In contrast, 51% of boomers will only visit a domestic destination, whereas the remaining 6% will visit an international destination specifically.

British seniors who want to travel out of the country, they are most drawn to countries like France, Italy, Spain, and Portugal.

Travel Frequency

Many people expect seniors to travel the most frequently simply because they are of retirement age. This is actually not true.

👉 Among all age groups, Baby Boomers actually travel little, though not the least. On average, Baby Boomers use 27 vacation days a year.

👉 To put that in perspective, Generation X uses 26 vacation days a year, whereas Generation Z averages 29 days.

👉 Millennials come in at a whopping 35 vacation days a year.

Travel and Accommodation Trends

If you have planned any trip, you know one of the first questions you need to ask yourself is how you are going to get there and where you are going to stay.

Interestingly, there is actually way fewer statistics about how Baby Boomers travel than the other generations, perhaps because they stay with family and friends while traveling the most often.

👉 Still, about 1/3 of Baby Boomers prefer to take a cruise for vacation, whereas about 11% of them like quick weekend getaways.

👉 Similarly, about 1/4 of Baby Boomers extend their business trips simply for pleasure.

Booking Habits of Elderly Tourist

One thing that has changed dramatically amongst the different demographics is how they make their decisions and decide on where to book. As you would expect, Gen Z and Millennial travel is often associated with social media and advertising.

Baby Boomers, on the other hand, are primarily influenced by travel ads that contain informative content.

👉 In fact, 66% of seniors are more likely to go to a destination if they’ve seen an ad with content that tells them about the location. Still, not all seniors ignore social media.

👉 About 10% of Baby Boomers today plan their vacations based on things they have seen on social media.

Spending Habits

Finally, the last section we’re going to look at is spending habits. Unsurprisingly, Millennials and Gen X spend the most on their vacations. It is estimated that flights are especially to blame for these high prices.

Baby Boomers, in contrast, tend to spend the least amount of money on their vacations.

👉 On average, seniors only spend about $1865 on summer vacations.

👉 Additionally, about 57% of Baby Boomers highly considered their budget as being the main factor when they’re making booking decisions.

What Do These Elderly Tourism Statistics Tell Us?

Statistics don’t mean much if you don’t understand how they relate to the past, present, and future. Almost all of these percentages and studies argue that tourism among the aging population is on the rise.

Although the younger generation still travels more, it’s looking like aging tourism is improving dramatically within the upcoming years.

Obviously, the younger generation will always travel more than older ones simply because they have better health and more freedom.

Senior citizens, on the other hand, might be wary to travel due to health reasons or because they are more tied down to their family and location.

Still, tourism among the aging population is increasing dramatically because of improvements to the health and retirement age.

Today, living well into one’s 80s or 90s is completely normal. As a result, many retirement-age people save their money so they could travel in their early retirement years.

Additionally, the Baby Boomer generation is aging dramatically at the moment. We have some of the largest senior citizen numbers to ever be reported.

As a result, tourism among this population has increased since this population has increased itself.

How Does An Aging Population Affect Tourism?  

Traditionally, the aging population did not affect tourism as much as the younger generation. Today, though, the aging population actually has large sway in it given that they are traveling more and more.

In fact, many tourist destinations are beginning to accommodate the aging population as the Baby Boomer generation ages.

Because the Baby Boomer generation is so large, as the name suggests, there are simply more senior travelers than there have been in the past.

This is caused a huge boom within the aging tourist market. Many destinations are catering their entire tourist experience towards the aging population specifically.

For example, cruises are largely popular among Generation X and Baby Boomers. For this reason, the cruise market caters a lot of their events and food around the aging population.

That is not to say cruises don’t attract younger people. It simply means that cruises are more of a hit amongst the older generations.

What Is The Importance Of Tourism?

Even though tourism is largely experienced as a leisure activity, it actually has a very important role in our society. Just from a money perspective, tourism boosts different countries’ and communities’ economies, both local and global.

As a result, it creates jobs and develops a country’s infrastructure. This is especially true of smaller or less developed communities.

Additionally, tourism helps people understand different cultures. Although this may seem like a minor issue, it is actually important in globalization.

As more people experience new cultures and meet new people, they are more likely to be tolerant and accepting of different communities.

As a result, tourism is essential in today’s society. Not only does it build up communities that need more work and money, but it also makes the world more globalized in that it introduces different communities and people to those around the world.

Why Has Tourism Grown In The Last 50 Years?

Tourism has grown over the last 50 years for quite a few reasons. Whether it is taking longer business trips or traveling to destinations across the ocean, traveling and tourism is simply more popular today than it has been in the past.

There are many reasons for this.

For example, income has increased dramatically, especially holiday pay. As people make more money, they can spend their money more leisurely on big-ticket items or vacations.

Another reason tourism has increased is because of the advances in transportation. Today, you can travel via car, bus, train, boat, or plane. This variety of transportation simply makes it easier to travel.

Many experts also believe that interests have changed, leading to more tourism. More people are interested in going to new and unusual travel destinations. As a result, people are more likely to travel, which boosts the tourist industry.

Some other reasons that tourism has grown in the last 50 years include the following:  

  • Income increase
  • Holiday or vacation pay
  • Transportation developments
  • Affordable transportation
  • Positive impacts of tourism
  • Lifestyle changes and interests

Final Thoughts

Because the aging population includes so many people who are healthier than ever before, Baby Boomers and older Gen X individuals are becoming increasingly involved in travel and tourism. As a result, the senior populations are transforming the tourism industry in ways that have never been seen before.

Even though these aging populations love traveling, what they like about traveling, how much they travel, and where they go are still very different than the younger generations.

In fact, the differences in this information are causing certain locations to cater towards younger tourism and other locations to cater towards the older ones.

It will be interesting to watch how Elderly tourism statistics change after COVID-19 and well into the future. Many experts believe that the trends will slightly change in the immediate future as the older populations are more at risk.

As things become more normalized again, however, the older generation very well might spike back to traveling just as much, if not more, than before the pandemic.


Mike Gilmour

Hi, I'm Mike, co-founder, and editor of RV and Playa. My passion is traveling (with my RV) and enjoying the day at the beach (Playa)! Well, I originally created this blog as a way to share what I've learned by experimenting with the RV lifestyle, and I want to help others develop in life through new skills and opportunities.

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